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Review: Nutrigenomics of marbling and fatty acid profile in ruminant meat

  • M. M. Ladeira (a1), J. P. Schoonmaker (a2), K. C. Swanson (a3), S. K. Duckett (a4), M. P. Gionbelli (a1), L. M. Rodrigues (a1) and P. D. Teixeira (a1)...


The present review will present the recent published results and discuss the main effects of nutrients, mainly fatty acids, on the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. In this sense, the review focuses in two phases: prenatal life and finishing phase, showing how nutrients can modulate gene expression affecting marbling and fatty acid profile in meat from ruminants. Adiposity in ruminants starts to be affected by nutrients during prenatal life when maternal nutrition affects the differentiation and proliferation of adipose cells enhancing the marbling potential. Therefore, several fetal programming studies were carried out in the last two decades in order to better understand how nutrients affect long-term expression of genes involved in adipogenesis and lipogenesis. In addition, during the finishing phase, marbling becomes largely dependent on starch digestion and glucose metabolism, being important to create alternatives to increase these metabolic processes, and modulates gene expression. Different lipid sources and their fatty acids may also influence the expression of genes responsible to encode enzymes involved in fat tissue deposition, influencing meat quality. In conclusion, the knowledge shows that gene expression is a metabolic factor affecting marbling and fatty acid profile in ruminant meat and diets and their nutrients have direct effect on how these genes are expressed.

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